Good-bye Doubt, Hello Christ-confidence!
Hi friends! We sent the first email of The 7-day Doubt Diet Friday morning! It includes a short welcome note from me and Chapter 1 from my new book, A Confident Heart.

If you signed up and didn't receive the email, see suggestions for how you can fix that at the end of this post. If you want to receive it but haven't signed up yet, enter your information (carefully) in my sidebar under "Doubt Diet Sign-ups". We'll be sending it again, to new sign-ups this weekend.

I wanted you to see a vlog (video blog) I recorded with Melissa Taylor, one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, this week. She is also a speaker, writer and servant leader with P31. And she's going to be offering
A Confident Heart online Bible study of in September. (More details soon on how you can sign up).

This summer, Melissa is shepherding the hearts of 3500 women going through Wendy Blight's book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. I know some of you are part of that special group! This week Melissa is encouraging them to go on
The 7-day Doubt Diet with us!

I wanted to share with you our conversation about self-doubt, walls we hit that destroy our hope and how we need to persevere. We had so much fun recording it and hope you'll have fun joining us via video! If you can't see Melissa, click on it twice and a full-screen window should open. (If you are reading this in an email click here to watch the video on my blog.)


If you signed up for the doubt-diet and haven't received my email with Chapter 1, here are steps you can take to fix that:

1) Check your spam folder

2) Make sure is on your white list

3) Check to see if your firewall is blocking it. Those who signed up with work emails are having the most trouble since it's an unknown source to your networks.

3) If you still can't find it, re-enter your information in the sign up box and very carefully to make sure your email is correct. Typos in emails addresses are keeping people from receiving it.

4) If you do all that, and you still haven't received it by 3pm Sunday, June 26th, email with your name, state and email address. But please only do that if after you have done 1-3 and allowed time for the system to re-set and re-send.

Please join us in praying for the blood of Jesus to cover all things techy, and for the enemy to be thwarted in attempts to keep women from experiencing all that God has for them! I can't wait to share HIS message of hope and Christ-confidence with you!!

A New Place to Call Home...coming soon
Hi friends! I'm in the middle of designing and filling the rooms of a new place that I will soon call home -- online. I cannot wait to share my new website with you!

I've been dreaming about new decorations and renovations for years. I've longed for a place that reflects more of my personality, my heart, my passions, my messages and my family. But I've been waiting on God's timing. And now it's almost here.

That is one of the reasons I've been missing in bloggy world. I still can't wait to tell you about my insane whirlwind trip to Canada where I got to see God move in miraculous ways. It involves a missing passport and working with the US government to get a new one in less than 24 hours! I'll leave you hanging there.

For now, I need to get things ready for our little open house. Hoping it will be partially ready for close friends like you next week. We're working on getting at least some of the furniture and wall hangings (ie. content, videos, photos, etc.) moved in this week.

I'm also launching The 7-day Doubt Diet and it'd make my heart smile to have a new welcome mat on the porch to greet new friends that will pop over from it. Speaking of the doubt diet, I have some amazing news! I was praying for 3000 sign ups before A Confident Heart. launches in August... As of this morning, and we're just shy of 4,000 people signed up already!

My fun, adventurous-faith girlfriend, Lysa TerKeurst, challenged me to start praying for 10,000 and I've accepted her prayer dare! Wouldn't that be so amazing for 10,000 of us to start losing the weight of self-doubt together??

I hope you will one of them! If you're not signed up yet, be sure to sign up in my sidebar today and invite someone to join you, too. Click here for a short pre-written invite to send family and friends.

And now for a peak inside my heart: I woke up today feeling like I can't keep up with all that is going on. It wasn't the first time I felt like I don't have what it takes to fulfill my calling as a wife, mom, and woman in ministry. I bet your life feels impossible sometimes, too. And that is why I hopped on here. I wanted to share with you how God encouraged me this morning. I posted a promise that gave me His perspective today on Facebook and wanted to share it with you.

When life presses in and pressures weigh us down, doubt will tells us, "There's no way you can do this!" But we can silence discouragement by choosing God-fidence instead {LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Isaiah 26:12}

Will you choose to live in the security of that promise with me today? Let me know how I can be praying for you, and I will be. I'd treasure your prayers, too.

I'd love to stay connected a little more consistently than I can here. So, I'm posting almost daily and sometimes more on Facebook. I'd love to see you there!

Winners, winners & more winners!
I'm back from Canada, and boy do I have a story to tell! Still recuperating, but photos and details coming soon. Here are the winners from my past few give-aways! Drum roll please...

There Is No One Like You post on May 18, 2011
  • Leslie Mears you have won 3 copies of A Confident Heart when it releases in August! One is for you and two are to give-away!

Highlights and another Give-away post on May 28, 2011
  • Annette Davidson you have one (1) GoBible® Traveler

Are you tired of doubting yourself? post on June 1, 2011
  • Tracy Ray you have one (1) GoBible® Traveler

Getting Up Again post on June 8, 2011

  • Jodi Escapule you've won my “Getting Up Again” give-away which includes a signed Advanced Copy of my book, A Confident Heart, along with a GoBible® and a copy of the 31-verse promise chart from my book!
We need each winner to please send your mailing address to by Friday, June 17th. We hope to hear from you! If we don't by then, we'll need to select an alternate winner. Thanks!

*Also, our friends at GoBible® are offering a discount and free shipping through June 15th for Father's day and graduation gifts. I don't get any cuts or commissions. I just love listening to my Bible on the go, so that is why I share about them with you!

Getting Up Again
"Failure can be hurtful but it can also be beneficial
because failure produces wisdom when we ask for it
and maturity when we learn from it."

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I shared this truth and how God's used it to teach me how to "get up again" when failure threatened to keep me down. I also shared about a fun give-away I have today but before we get to those details, I want to invite those of you who are new to my blog to sign up for my FREE "7-Day Doubt Diet" devotions in my sidebar.

These devotions are for friends like you! They include a week's worth of encouragement and practical ways to lose the weight of self-doubt. And they'll also give you a peek inside my book before it releases because they include some of my favorite parts of A Confident Heart.

I also wanted to give you some promises that will help us re-define our perspective! As I shared in my devotion, following Jesus is not about avoiding failures and being perfect. It’s about accepting our weaknesses and becoming more dependent on God’s perfect love and power at work in us.

In Chapter 12 of “
A Confident Heart I’ve included a chart of thirty-one promises to replace our defeating doubts with God’s empowering perspective. Here are a few for you to print and carry with you when you need His help to get up again - in your heart and in your thoughts:


Perspective-Changing Promises

When I Say: I don’t know what to do.
God Says: I will direct your steps. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5–6, NIV)

When I Say: My life is too hard.
God Says: Let Me help you. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Ps. 91:15, NIV)

When I Say: I can’t do it.
God Says: Rely on My strength and you can do all that I’ve called you to do. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me. (Phil. 4:13 AMP)

When I Say: I’m too afraid.
God Says: I have not given you a spirit of fear.For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7 NLT)

When I Say: I can’t forgive myself.
God Says: I forgive you. God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. (1 John 1:9 GW)

I hope you'll print and carry these with you! Why not put a copy on your mirror, in your car and in your purse? Also, I hope you'll enter to win my "Getting Up Again" give-away (a signed advance-release copy of A Confident Heart, a GoBible® to listen to God's Word on the go, and a copy of the 31-verse promise chart from my book.) To enter, just sign up for the doubt diet and invite a friend or two to join you!

Just like a regular diet, having someone else to pray and encourage each other is so good, especially when it comes to losing the weight of self-doubt!
And, here's an invitation you can send them via email or post on your blog or FB page:

Invite a Friend, it's easy!

Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, from Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering a FREE "7-day Doubt Diet". Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you'll receive a week's worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart. Let me know so we encourage one another the week they come out.

Enter the "Getting Up Again" give-away:
  • Sign up for the doubt diet - it's easy to do in my sidebar.
  • Encourage a friend(s) to join you via email, FB, Twitter, etc. You can use easy invite above.
  • Click on the word "comments" below this post.
  • Let me know your name, that you've signed up for the Doubt Diet and invited friends.
  • To find out if you win, leave your email in your comment, sign up for email updates or follow me on Facebook. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

The "7-Day Doubt Diet" releases June 27th. For more details click here.

A Confident Heart releases August 1. You can pre-order it here or anywhere you love to buy books. All pre-orders through Proverbs 31 Ministries will be signed by me and book proceeds go back to P31. If you have any problems ordering on our P31 site, you can call our office at 704-849-2270 and they'll be happy to help.

Are you tired of doubting yourself?
If you are ready to lose the weight of discouragement and self-doubt, be sure to sign up for "The 7-Day Doubt Diet" in my sidebar.

If you are hopping over from Karen Ehman's "Weight Loss Wednesday" blog post, welcome! I'm so glad you are here. I've got a great give-away that I'd love for you to be part of, but first I want to let you know what my doubt-diet is all about. Here's the official scoop:

The 7-Day Doubt Diet
A free Devotional Companion
for A Confident Heart

Filled with daily insights, powerful promises, and short scripture-prayers, Renee's written a week’s worth of FREE Confident Heart devotions! Do the 7-day Doubt Diet on your own or, even better, invite a few friends, co-workers, neighbors or family to join you in your journey of learning to live without doubt and find the assurance of a confident heart.


The purpose of "The 7-day Doubt Diet" is to give you a week's worth of daily encouragement and practical steps to start losing the weight of self-doubt and defeat! These devotions include some of my favorite parts of A Confident Heart, and I cannot wait to share them with you!

Also, I hope you'll invite a friend, neighbor, co-worker or someone in your family to join you. There's nothing like having each others prayers and encouragement when it comes to losing the weight of self-doubt!

To make it easy, here's a little invite you can send them via email or post on your blog or FB page:

Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, from Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering a FREE "7-day Doubt Diet". Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you'll receive a week's worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart. Let me know so we encourage one another the week they come out.

Have you signed up yet? Be sure to let me know! This week, if you sign(ed) up and invited a friend (or two), click on the word "comments" below this post to let me know! You will be entered to win one of three more GoBible® Travelers I've been given to give away. I've extended the give-away through the weekend so be sure to check back Monday or sign up for email updates in my sidebar.

And just in case you're wondering, A Confident Heart is being released August 1st but you can pre-order your copy today here.

Highlights, Winners & Another GoBible Give-away!
I don't know about your house, but it's pre-summer craziness around here! It's a challenge being a mom in May isn't it? With year-end school activities, weddings, graduations, proms, exams, a toddler who wants to be outside playing with the hose all day and oh yea, I have a job and a book release coming. Whew, I'm glad it's a long weekend!

Although you're probably all off somewhere having fun, I decided to stop in just to say
hello, share some of the highlights of my crazy week, announce last week's winners and tell you about a fun give-away too!

Thursday I had sweet downtime and playtim
e in our backyard with Aster. Here are two of my favorite memories. (If you'd like to hear the sound of her contagious giggles, I posted a 30s video from our playtime on my FB page.)

I also got to spend several hours this week with some of my P31 staff/friends working on our Encouragement for Today devotions. I'm currently serving as our Sr. Editor. and I meet with my editorial review team every other month. This week we reviewed a batch of 23 submissions. First I spread them out in sets of two across the floor. Then I split them up and give them out to those that are paired together. This time it was Lysa with Leah, and Sam with Holly, and then me reviewing several on my own. We also have 4 other women, Glynnis, Lisa, Tracie and Wendy, who do verse verification, blog loading, writer coaching and HTML converting. Plus all the authors who write them and then connect with readers on their blog during the days their devos run. It's amazing what a big team it takes to prepare these to send to almost a half-million people each weekday. But what an honor, and we love doing it.

On Tuesday, I finished the writing/editing/layout of my "7-day Doubt Diet" ( click here to find out more.) . It's now in review at my wonderful publishing house, Revell. Once approved, it will go to design and then to their e-book department.

These devotions include some of my favorite parts of A Confident Heart, and I cannot wait to share them with you! So, have you signed up yet? Last night when I looked, almost 1000 people had!! I would love to know if you are one of them.

Also, I really hope you'll invite a friend, neighbor, co-worker or someone in your family to join you. There's nothing like having each others prayers and encouragement when it comes to losing the weight of self-doubt! To make it easy, here's a little invite you can send them or post on your FB page:

Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, Proverbs 31 Ministries author and radio co-host is offering a FREE "7-day Doubt Diet". Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you'll receive a week's worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart.

Let me know if you want to join me and we can encourage one another the week they come out. To find out more details click here.


If you sign(ed) up for the "7 Day Doubt Diet" and invited a friend (or two), click on the word "comments" below to let me know! You will be entered to win one of three more GoBible® Travelers I've been given to give away!

I'll be back to announce the winners
on Thursday before leaving for next Tuesday when I get back from Canada. {I decided to extend the date since Karen Ehman linked over this week and we have more people entering on my Weds post.} Until then, I'll be busy preparing and living/loving the crazy life of a mom in May. Happy Memorial Day Weekend friends!

There is No One Like You!
Do you remember being in middle school? Those were the awkward years. I remember not really liking who I was or how I looked. I have a feeling a lot of us didn’t like ourselves at that age, but we all desperately wanted others to like us, right?

At that point, I think a lot of us secretly compared ourselves to those around us, observed who was liked most, and tried to be like the popular people.

In my Proverbs 31 devotion, "Becoming the Real Me," I talk about having that same unhealthy habit in my adult life, too. And I know I'm not alone. For many women, it wasn't just a phase when we were teenagers; it's still a struggle now. Sometimes it's because we don't have the confidence to find out who we really are. Many of us are just more comfortable buried in busyness and hiding behind our self-doubts.

Lots of times it's because we're believe we don't have anything special to offer anyway, so we just keep being who others want, need or expect us to be.

Well my friend, it's time to do something about it. How? First we have to stop comparing ourselves to other women. Why would we compare how we feel inadequate on the inside with how someone else looks like they had it all together on the outside? We'll always end up feeling less than.

Not only is comparison toxic for us personally, it's also destructive relationally. Comparison makes us measure our worth against other women, and we end up competing with each other.

But God created us to complete one another, not compete with each other.

In my book, A Confident Heart, I share how we can do that by encouraging each others' strengths, overlooking each others' weaknesses and celebrating each other' uniqueness.

The truth is, life is hard and we need each other! “But now God has placed the parts, each one of them in the body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:18-20

God gives all of us unique personalities, abilities, passions and experiences because we each play a leading role in the story He’s writing with our lives.

So, today when you are tempted to compare yourself to another woman and doubt starts whispering that you’re not as smart as she is, or gifted or pretty or godly…remember you are "God’s masterpiece...created anew in Christ so that [you] can do the good things He planned for [you] long ago.” Ephesians 2:10, (NLT)

In my upcoming book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God’s Promises, I have a whole chapter on this topic and other self-doubts that keep us from becoming the women God created us to be!

I'm giving away three copies today, but first I'd love for you to watch this 2-minute introduction video.

I'm praying for each of you today as you begin to discover and embrace the woman God created you to be! Remember, there is no one like you...and the world is missing someone special until you become her!

If you'd like to read A Confident Heart when it releases, and share it with friends, enter to win 3 copies (1 for yourself and 2 for friends) below:

A Confident Heart releases August 1st, but you can pre-order yours at P31 today and be the first to receive a signed copy in early August! (P31 is getting early copies in mid July.)

**** Doubt Diet Sign-Ups ****
You can now sign up for my FREE "7-day Doubt Diet" in the right top sidebar!!

7-day Doubt Diet - UPDATE
Hi friends!!

I wanted to give you a quick update on my 7-day Doubt Diet. I'm sorry so many of you have emailed me and haven't heard back. We ended up with over 300 of you signed up!

I was soooo excited!!

But, then I was a little sad. You see my publisher said I could only take 10 people in the focus/review group since the devotions and the book aren’t published. I trust their wisdom. But I did still beg for 15 and got them. However, it means some of you won't be able to be part of it ---YET!!

But I want you to be on my VIP list to start receiving the finished 7-day Doubt Diet devotionals before they release June 27th! And I now have a way to get your names in my email list!!

Please enter your information in the sign up area at the top of my right sidebar.

Thank you for your encouragement, support and passion for this message. I can't wait to share it with all of you!

Winners and Other great offersl!
The winner of last week's give-away from my If only I had known... post is Monica!

Monica, you are going to receive an autographed copy of Lynn's Cowell's new
book, His Revolutionary Love. Lynn gave me a signed copy this week and I love it! The layout is so perfect for teen girls with great pull-out quotes, places to journal and more. Seriously some of the best page designs I've seen for a teen audience! And the content is perfect too, but you know they are all about how things look so that is very important. Your girl will love it!

The winners of last week's Finding Meaning in the Monotony post are: Momma Shoe and Jennifer Roskamp.

Momma Shoe and Jennifer you are each going to receive 2 Purpose-Driven Mom Gift Packs which include:

I'm giving you two so you'll have one to keep and one to give away.

More GREAT OFFERS just for YOU!

For those who didn't win, you can still listen to or download my
Power of a Purpose-Driven mom message by clicking here for the FREE DOWNLOAD. It will be up for one more week. Also, You can order a "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart, click here.

AUDIO BIBLEs on sale!
® is offering 15% off the price plus free shipping on their products - just for us- May 31st.
What is unique about the GoBible® is that it's not text, it's audio so you can listen to the Bible - while driving, washing dishes, exercising, etc.

It is also unique because unlike other audio Bible downloads, it allows you to search for certain books of the Bible and specific verses. You can also bookmark where you stopped instead of starting all over. And they have devotions, a listen-through-the-Bible in a year plan and so much more. That is why I love it so much!
Click here to take advantage of this amazing special offer.

And I'll see you back here next week!

Happy Mother's Day! FREE Mom Message DOWNLOAD
I've been SO touched and blessed reading your stories and hearing how Jesus encouraged your hearts through my "Sometimes I just Wanna Quit" devotion and then how you responded with over 500 comments here and on my facebook page after Finding Meaning in the Monotony of Motherhood" was more than I've ever received in one day! WOW!!

In the weeks that followed God gave me a whole new perspective and a deep sense of spiritual purpose as a mom that I'd never had before. It completely changed my life, and my family.
I wanted to share more with you through a download of my message:

The Power of a Purpose-Driven Mom
Are your days filled with purpose as a parent, or are you easily detoured by the urgent and unexpected? Do you wonder if all that you do really matters? In this message Renee helps moms (and dads):
  • Shift their focus from their children’s habits to shaping their hearts
  • Use encouraging words to re-direct discouraging attitudes and actions
  • Develop your child’s character to look like Christ with character-based scriptures and ideas for living them out in every day life
Join Renee for a look at why moms struggle to find meaning in the monotony of motherhood and how we can make the most of each day while fulfilling the most important job on earth – being a mom! Filled with personal stories, practical ideas and inspirational truths, this message will help you discover your PURPOSE as a mom and develop a plan to live it out each day!

Message Download expired May 15, 2011.

Finding Meaning in the Monotony
Have you ever wanted to quit being a mom? Or maybe just go on a really long leave of absence?

Today I have a devotion running about the day I almost gave up on being a mom. If you haven't read it, be sure to click here and then be sure to come back cause I've got a give-away you don't want to miss!

It was a really terrible, awful, hard day. So hard that I sat in a corner and cried. And yet, it brought me to the end of myself and that was a good thing.

When I finished crying, I sat down to do some work and happened upon a story about Andrew Carnegie that completely changed my perspective as a mom and as a child of God.

Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America in the early 1900s, so wealthy that he employed over 42 millionaires. When asked how he developed these men to become so valuable that he would pay them that much money, Carnegie explained that “men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt — one goes in looking for gold.”

I’d been buried in the dirt that day. I was lost in the monotony of motherhood and felt like my days had no meaning. My discouragement and feelings of failure as a mom left me so disappointed in myself. And I was convinced God felt the same way about me.

I started wishing I had a gold-miner in my life who could see beyond my mistakes and find the gold in me. That’s when God whispered to my heart, “Renee, I am that gold-miner. You are the one who is so critical of yourself. You are the one who focuses on your faults. But I see the gold of My image in your heart, and I want to bring it to the surface so your kids can see Me in you.”

As I sat there trying to process what God was whispering to my heart, stories from the Bible started flooding my thoughts helping me believe that God really does see beyond who I am to who I can become.

That day God used His thoughts to give me a new perspective – of Himself and of myself. Then He challenged me to look for ways to transfer that perspective to my children.

It’s easy to get buried in the dirt of discontentment, disobedience and discouragement. You may even be thinking, Where’s the gold in it all? I wondered, too. But after reading Carnegie’s story and hearing God speak to my heart, I wanted to become a gold-mining mom.

As I thought about the gold I wanted to see in my children, character traits of Christ such as patience, kindness and contentment came to mind. I decided to make a list of golden attitudes and actions and look up Bible verses we could learn together. Then I made gold nuggets by balling up foil and spray-painting them gold.

In the following weeks, each time my kids showed a golden attitude or action, I’d reward them. When they saved up enough nuggets, they’d get a special treat. We also found new character traits and Bible verses, wrote down ideas to live them out and started making them part of our family devotions.

It took time for me to embrace a grace-based parenting perspective and let God's new truths sink in. But I was so excited about having a spiritual focus as a mom. I started getting creative and about finding time in the midst of my busy days to get into His Word and get His word into me. And as I did, He used His thoughts to re-shape mine.

God’s Word became a part of our everyday lives as He taught me to take my eyes off of my children’s habits and focus on their hearts. Not only did it change my kids’ attitudes and actions, it changed me, too. For the first time in months, I was excited about my role as a parent. God had given me a new perspective, and a whole new sense of purpose as a mom!

Lord, thank You for not focusing on the dirt in my life but seeing beyond who I am to who I can become. Help me believe that, receive that and give it away to my kids, my husband and my friends. Help me look at their hearts and encourage the glimpses of You that I see in them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Portions of this post are also in my upcoming book, A Confident Heart.
Copyright 2011. Baker Publishing. All rights reserved.


Purpose-Driven Mom Gift Packs

2 for 2: Two of you will receive two gift packs
One to keep and one to give away that include:

My Purpose-Driven mom message on CD and my "Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart. My favorite busy mom's Bible tool — the GoBible® .

Be sure to click here to find out more about the leading pre-loaded digital Bibles! I love this amazing resource for busy women and moms who want to get into God's word and get God's word into us! I don't make a dime on it, but I'm so excited they are offering a 15% discount and free shipping to my P31 friends and cyber sisters through the end of this month!

It'd be a great gift for Mother's day, graduation, Father's day or birthdays.


To enter to win, click on the word "comments" below this post and tell me which one of the GoBibles you'd want to win, (I have a couple to choose from) and let us know who you'd give your 2nd gift pak to. Winners will be announced next Monday morning.

To find out if you win, be sure to sign up for email updates in my sidebar, friend me on facebook or include your email in your comment. Otherwise, I won't know how to find you.

If only I had known...
Would you have considered yourself a confident teen?

Oh, how I wish I could “yes.”

Confidence. It's what I needed most and had the least.

Sometimes I wish I could rewind the clock and tell my 14-year old self what she needed to know to have lasting confidence. Do you ever think to yourself, "If only I had known..."?

I do. Oh, how I'd love to sit down with my teenage-self and chat. First I'd give her a big hug because she needed one. I'd tell her that all those things that feel like the framework that holds her world together - they don't.

The boyfriends and friends whose acceptance she craves. The grades and gossip she worries about. The parties and popularity.

I'd tell her Truths that would equip her to make better choices. And God's promises that would empower her to live life differently. To live a life worthy of who she is a one of His girls.

When I think about people who knew my 14-year old self, I'm pretty sure a few would be surprised that I'd say I wasn't confident back then. The reality is, I struggled with self-doubt, discouragement and insecurity from the time I was a little girl. But I wasn’t about to let anyone know it.

I believed the lie so many believe - the one that convinced me that my value was determined by my status and my stuff, my personality, appearance, performance and possessions.

I didn't know who I was. I didn't feel like my life really mattered. But I wanted it to. So I looked around and tried to be what I thought others wanted, needed or expected me to be. And it was exhausting.

How about you? Were you a confident teenager? Or do you sometimes wish you could turn back time and talk to your teenage self, too?

Well, we can’t go back. But, today I want to share how we can can live forward by speaking truth and confidence into the lives of those who are there, in those teenage years, right now.

My friend, P31 teammate, speaker and now author, Lynn Cowell, has written a book for teenage girls and their mom's, called His Revolutionary Love. Infused with truth to help young girls find lasting confidence and security, Lynn shares how they can know without a doubt that they are loved - empowering them to make wise choices and live life without regrets.

Today, I've asked Lynn to share a little about her passion and her book with us:

Confidence is a major factor in young people when it comes to the paths they choose. Those craving acceptance, approval and affirmation to an unhealthy degree find themselves trapped. Caught between what they know is right and what they believe will win friends, they struggle like a fish beached on the sand. They are uncomfortable, miserable even, but they don’t know how to navigate themselves back to what they were made for.

Thanks to some amazing women in my life, I discovered confidence in the unconditional love of Jesus as a teen. Revealing to me some passages in God’s word I had never seen before, it was as though I was slipped hidden love notes from Jesus. The truth that Jesus was wild for me (Psalm 45:11), that He saw no flaw in me (Song of Songs 4:7) and that He actually enjoyed me (Zephaniah 3:17) transformed the way I saw myself.

Do you want your daughters, nieces and granddaughters to be filled with a confidence that is true and can stand the pressure of this world? “Girl power” just doesn’t hold up.

Lasting confidence only comes from one source: knowing who they are. Only a foundation built on unconditional
love will endure. Do you see a girl struggling with low self-image? Can you read in her eyes, “Won’t someone love me the way I am?”

She needs to know when Jesus looks at her, He is not disappointed in her. She needs to know that love from a guy, be it a dad or a boyfriend, can never fill the love gap in our hearts…but He can.
Maybe you’ve thought about investing in a young girl, but you don’t know how.

On my website I'm offering a free leadership guide for my book “His Revolutionary Love”, a study for girls ages 13 - 17. Filled with practical how-to’s and thought provoking questions, this guide provides every step.
What young woman can you begin to pour truth into? Ask Jesus to give you one; just one girl that you can make a difference in; one girl that you can begin to change the world through. Here is an easy way that you can impact one girl.

To celebrate the release of His Revolutionary Love, we are launching a book blast! From May 2nd - 4th, for every book that is purchased on Amazon or Proverbs 31 Ministries, a second book will be given to a girl who might not otherwise have the opportunity to own HRL.

Some of our partner recipients include: Children's HopeChest, a ministry preventing and rescuing girls from sex trafficking and Sunshine Gospel Ministries, a ministry which works with teen girls in the Chicago projects.
Will you join me? Let’s start a love revolution, friends; a radical movement to spread the truth of True love!

What is one thing you would tell your 14-year old self or a teenage girl growing up today about God's Love?

Lynn and I would love to know. And she's going to give one of you a signed copy of “His Revolutionary Love,. To enter to win, simply click on the word "comments" right below Renee's name and type in the white box and share with us.

Through our emptines we find His fullness
Tears dripped down my cheeks as I read each word. I recognized them as my own. Stories of twenty very different from all walks of life are reading my book before it is released . The work He's doing in each heart, and in each life, is the same work He did in me before and during the process of writing A Confident Heart . Here are some of the words I read:

A Confident Heart moved me from believing what God says about me, to receiving it and living in it. Renee taught me is how to “fail forward” by learning from my mistakes and leaving them behind for good - along with my guilt, shame and worry! - Lisa S.

Through A Confident Heart Renee helped me see that “salvation is a one-time decision, but finding satisfaction in Christ and living in the security of His promises is a daily process.” I will read A Confident Heart over and over to keep it fresh in my heart and mind. - Margaret S.

Exhausted by the weight of perfectionism, and discouraged by the fact that I was a Christian and still struggled with insecurity, I cried out to God for help. A Confident Heart was part of His answer! It’s given me an arsenal to fight the lies I’ve believed far too long. - Kimberly H.

A Confident Heart is the most vulnerable work God has called me to. I'm comfortable being transparent in my speaking but something about sharing my most personal stories, tender insecurities and paralyzing self-doubts on paper and knowing they would be printed in permanent ink was unlike anything I've done before.

I felt so unguarded. And did I mention, vulnerable?

Being real about how empty we sometimes feel is especially risky when it comes to our insecurities, isn't it? I think it's because we're afraid if we let people know why we doubt ourselves, they’ll start doubting us, too.

Yet, I needed to take that risk with my book. I didn't write it because I'm an expert. And I don't want anyone thinking I'm a woman who has it all together, because I don't. But I do want each woman who reads my book to know she is not alone in her struggles and something isn't wrong with her because she battles insecurities.

But she also doesn't have to stay stuck in that hard place as long as I did.

The truth is, our insecurities are part of our spiritual formation and completion in Christ. Think about Moses, Jonah, Peter, Gideon, Martha, the Samaritan woman. All of them had self-doubts, but those doubts that led them to depend more on God. And that is a good thing.

God wants US to use our self-doubts to work for us, instead of against us, too.

We just need to recognize insecurity and self-condemnation as an indicator of emptiness that can lead us to His fullness.

But I don't want to just tell you how to do that, I want to show you. And that is why I wrote A Confident Heart. Through real-life stories from a woman who wrestled with self-doubt for 40 years (that would be me), I want to show you how the transforming truth of Gods' Word has the power to change the way we think, feel and live.

And I want to invite you to step into the pages of scripture with me so you can see and experience GOD's demonstration of His Love in YOUR everyday life. Love that is patient. Love that keeps no record of wrongs, love never fails (even when we do) and Love that is perfect so that we don't have be.

I could go on and on but today we need to know this one thing: It is our emptiness (inadequacy, weakness, insecurity and doubt) that leads us to His fullness (sufficiency, strength, security and confidence)!

I want to unpack that this week with you, but this time I want to talk face-to-face. Now I wish we could gather in my living room and have some girl talk. Or plan a weekend away. But that isn't possible right now, so I thought I'd talk with you via video this week.

Video Details: Going against all online expert advice, I've decided to load a full message on video below. Statistics tell me you won't watch it because it's longer than 3 minutes. But will you consider it? You see, I'm convinced Jesus led me to load it here because He has something to share with you through it sweet friend.

I'm on Spring Break with my family so this will up til next Monday. You can watch it in parts. Or maybe we could have lunch together. Perhaps, you could curl up with your Bible and journal and let Him speak to your heart sometime this week. (The opening is a story you may have seen in my promo clip, but this full message includes the "rest of the story" and so much more.)

Pre-order BONUS
: I have something special just for you! If you pre-order your copy of A Confident Heart through Proverbs 31 Ministries this week (before Easter Sunday) you will receive a signed copy of my book in August, and a free copy of my message "Letting God Fill the Empty Places in My Heart" on CD next week (it's similar to this video message).

To start the message, click on the arrow and give it a few seconds to load. If there is a delay, just press the arrow again a few times.

Renee Swope - Part 1 from SMCC on Vimeo.


In my message video, I talked about the word "worship" and how it was originally derived from a blend of two words "worth-ship." This reminds me that what I "focus on" is what I derive my "worth from". Where, who, or in what are you most tempted to get your worth from (performance at home, work, church, relationships with kids, friends, husband, etc)?

WINNER - Confident Heart Friendship Gift Pack
The winner of my Confident Heart Friendship Gift Pack
which includes an advanced copy of my new book A Confident Heart to read and share with a friend and a $10 Starbuck's Gift Card to share with a friend while you connect face-to-face and heart-to-heart over coffee, tea or Brandi.

And if you didn't win, this is a great week to order a copy. I've created a special Spring Break PRE-ORDER OFFER just for you!

If you pre-order your copy of A Confident Heart through Proverbs 31 Ministries this week (before Easter Sunday) you will receive a signed copy of my book in August, and a free copy of my message "Letting God Fill the Empty Places in My Heart" on CD right after Easter!

Click here to place your pre-order!

Resurrection blessings,

Confident Heart Friendship Gift Pak
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another..."
Hebrews 10:25a

I sometimes wonder if I am one of the "some" that are mentioned in this verse. Oh I go to church. I worship, take notes and hang out in the lobby chit-chatting. But somewhere along the way I got "in the habit of not meeting together" with friends as much as I think God wants me to.

I didn't mean for it to happen. Each day just seemed to fade into another. I couldn't keep up with everything as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, neighbor, and working/ministering woman.

Time with friends was the one thing I could afford to miss. Or so I thought.

But then I found myself with an craving for connection that I was trying to fulfill with a white screen and black alphabet keys. Yet no matter how many times I checked email or Facebook, it was never enough to satisfy my craving.

Maybe you can relate. If so, be sure to read my "Craving Connection" devotion over at Encouragement for Today.

As I think about my craving for connection, and God's emphasis on the importance of us "meeting together," I can't help but believe it's because He created us to need it. We were created in His image after all, and God is always in community - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Always has been.

But it won't just happen because we need it. So, today I wanted to share a few ways we can get creative and intentional about spending time with friends:
  • Plan a monthly girl’s night out
  • Invite a friend over for lunch or coffee
  • Find a hobby you both enjoy
  • Get away together for a day or weekend
  • Carpool together
  • Run errands together
  • Clean your houses or do laundry together
  • Prepare dinner together
  • Serve someone in need together
  • Reach out to a neighbor together
  • Start a Bible study or book club together
One of the things that encourages me is to have spiritual purpose to my friendships. I love doing a book study with a friend and meeting to talk about the questions at the end of each chapter.

I wrote A Confident Heart with that in mind, hoping friends will read it and encourage each other with the truths God put in it. We need that spiritual encouragement and transparency in our friendships, don't we? So, this week I'm giving A Confident Heart Friendship gift pak away to one of you. Here is what it includes:

Confident Heart Friendship Gift Pak

One advanced copy of my new book A Confident Heart
to read and share with a friend.

$10 Starbuck's Gift Card to share with a friend while you connect face-to-face and heart-to-heart over coffee, tea or dessert.

To enter to win -- share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, your blog and email. Let me know you did and then tell me one friend you will encourage with a call today or an email letting them know you'd love to get together. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

Lord, You created us with a need for friends. Yet, we find ourselves rushing through our days with little time for face-to-face and heart-to-heart connections. Help us to seek You first as our ultimate Friend, and then reach out to others so we can have and be a close friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This post is part of my Encouraging Words Wednesday.